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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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December 2010
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Improv sketch

A few months ago, thanks to an entirely random occurrence, I began going to a monthly "Instant Theater" group - meaning a combination of cold reading (of sketches written by the leader and the members) and some real improv. I've written two or three sketches (I won't dignify them by calling them plays) - tiny two or three person scenes to be done with no props besides a couple of chairs. The group decides on a first and last line, and the rest is up to us.

Usually, and I'm sure no one will be surprised, they attempt to be funny and often romantic. I try to avoid the romance, but, yeah. Short with a punch line. (*I* try to be short. I wish others would, too.)

I didn't attend the last two meetings, but I managed to get the first and last lines on Sunday and wrote something yesterday afternoon in time for the group.



First line: "This is a strange place."
Last line: "See me in St. Louis."

Not quite in proper play format, I'm afraid.

Rules

(Scene: Man and Woman in a bar. Man is sitting, woman is carrying a couple of drinks. She sits down and hands one to the man.)

Man: This is a strange place.

Woman: I suppose, if you're not used to it. I've been doing time travel research for ... oh, it's so hard to keep track of your own years, you know? Twenty or so, I think. I've spent a lot of in late 20th/early 21st - it's what I did my thesis on.

Man: Maybe it's where you're from. Things are a lot more settled in my own time, which is about...

Woman: Don't tell me! You know the rules. We shouldn't know anything about each other - not even names - keeps the problems down.

Man: Oh, right. Sorry. Why do you like this time period.

Woman: It's so vibrant. I can't talk about my time, either, but it's very formal and quiet, and things - things are on the cusp of change right now. In a few years...

Man: I know. Explosion of new inventions, world changing under their feet. I memorized that for school. It's when they realized how to travel in the past.

Woman: Yes! And they're so alive, and so curious and so...I wish I could say more, but rules.

Man: You've never been tempted to disobey the rules.

Woman: Only once. And I can't even tell you about that. I'm only talking to you know because...because it's nice to talk to another traveler about mutual past times. And that's allowed.

Man: Yeah. You've been at this for longer than I have. Have you been any time besides this.

Woman: I've been all over the centuries. Women wore the most ridiculous costumes! I think the time I like almost as much was 1904 - the St. Louis World's Fair. Things were changing then, too. Almost as rapidly.

Man: Wow! I'm going there next mission. I'm going to research all the foods - food is my specialty, you know. That's why I'm drinking coffee. This is the time of the best coffee.

Woman: So I've heard. Too bad about that blight in 2070 - changed the flavor forever. I just have a taste for Scotch. Ah, yes. The food. Iced tea and hamburgers.

Man: I'm going to see if it's true about the first ice cream cone. Do you think I'll see you there.

Woman: You won't recognize me. It was ten years and twenty pounds ago, and I wore the most ridiculous hat. And that's good because, you know.

Man: Yeah. Rules. I'm looking forward to it - I like animal powered eras.

Woman: Just be careful. Someone I...I knew there was killed by a runaway horse. It was awful.

Man: Was that the rule you broke? Getting close to someone in that era.

Woman: Something like that.

Man: Oh, my. Look at the time. I need to catch a capsule to my time for preparation! Thank you for the coffee!
Woman: My pleasure.

(He leaves.)
Woman: See me in St. Louis. Tommy. (Drains drink.)

Tags:
Comments

Brr. That didn't end up where I expected. Well done.

Just out of curiosity - where did you think it was going, and how did you think it ended up? It's sort of ambiguous for me, too.

I think I was kind of expecting that one or the other of them was a supervisor or "Secret Shopper", doing spot checks to make sure people were following the rules.

My interpretation of the ending is that Tommy is the one who was-will-be killed. She had-will-have-to have-met-will-meet him then-there to know his name. Also, I didn't pick it up the first time, but she said, "You won't know me," not "You wouldn't know me".

I like that first one.

Yes, that's it. And, yes, that was deliberate.

Nicely done!

Thank you!

I'm thinking I might actually turn this into prose and maybe use the backstories I have for them.